Think of the time when travelling by first class in a long-distance train was a big
deal. What was it like? A hyper-efficient, compressed space where most aspects
of convenience were looked into – a hook to hang clothes and a thermos flask, a
berth for sleep rather than sprawl, necessity rather than luxury, but most
importantly, privacy. Had enough of that garrulous Aunty and Uncle with their
endless chatter? Draw your curtains.
So, as the first customer of Urbanpod, India’s first pod hotel in Andheri East,
where familiarity meets chic futurism, these memories flash through my mind.
Room, which measures just about seven feet long and a little over three feet, is a
slicker version -Elon Musk proportions slick – of that first-class berth.
The hype around it has been substantial, and why not? From the first
‘kapuseru hoteru’ that opened in Osaka in 1979 to the capsule hotel that sprung
up in Hong Kong earlier this year, Urbanpod is one of the few niche properties
world-over where rooms have shrunk as a response to reckless urbanization.The
Space Age is finally upon us, and in Andheri East, no less.
Minimum space, maximum use
Booking a room with Urbanpod is stress-free; their website is very user-friendly.
Choosing the cheapest in the section is reserved for women and booked one
anonymously. There are other more expensive options, even suites for couples.
Now, the pods are really no different from bunk beds or hostels. However, the
grid-like arrangement can eerily remind you of lab rats and hamsters.
The women’s section had about 24 pods, with three communal bathrooms and a
common dining area. Luggage can be deposited in lockers; shoes must be
deposited in a locker.
So though Urbanpod might be catering to the dollar-touting, hostel-crawling
crowd, it is definitely worth checking out, even if for its futuristic novelty. As long
as you don’t have door shutters flying away mid-sleep, that is.
The pod comes with hooks, a television on the ceiling, a USB port, a socket for
earphones, AC vents, reading lights, a fire alarm and extinguisher, and, more
importantly, Wi-Fi. Naysayers will be disappointed in this extreme isolation and
self-preoccupation brought upon by the Internet, but if you are looking to be
occupied while in a pod little wider than a coffin, let’s say you are more than
Additionally, the control panel, which will definitely remind you of space travel, is
bilingual with English and Hindi signs.
The room also comes fitted with a glamorous round mirror, tempting you take
endless selfies. But, of utmost importance is the mattress – so comfortable that
royalty would be pleased to sink into it. As it turns out, the USP of pods is their
sleeping infrastructure.A Night’s Stay at The Urbanpod
Urbanpod is accessible via road; the nearest metro station is JB Nagar; and, it is
also close to the airport.
For Rs 2,588 (including taxes) for the smallest capsule, Urbanpod does not come
cheap. Pod hotels are meant for overnight stays so guests, especially Indian ones,
will question its pricing.